I'm a big fan of audiobooks via Audible.com. A few weeks ago, they offered one of their "Try something for $4.95!" specials, and I was lured in by the many 5 star rave reviews. I tried a J.D. Robb "In Death" book. And I liked it, I really did! It was escapist mindless fiction at its most escapist, but the underlying mystery was intriguing, and the characters really are cute. I then indulged in another, and another...and a few books later, I think I need a break. 5 star reviews notwithstanding, they are growing tiresome. Not to the point that I'll never listen to another, probably, because they are fun and perfect dog-walking escapist junk food, but I realized in the last few days what was grating on my nerves.
It's the lame "futuristic" setting - sometimes it's fun, other times it's just like Nora Roberts said, "Oh wait, that sounds sci-fi-ish!" and made up words for things that just sort of float around in the background, but without any real thought of how it would work, as a real science fiction writer would, or without doing even cursory research. I could tolerate that, I really could, if not for the vocabulary.
I hate to break it to you all, but we LOSE words in the future, and now describe many different things with short and non-specific single words, over and over and fucking over: "link" - I think this used to be phone, text and web communications in our time, but now it's all just "the link"- and "data." OH MY GAWD, that one has become like fingernails on my mental blackboard. It replaces all sorts of useful descriptive words, like "report" and "file" and "information," and I'm now waiting for somebody to make a grocery "data" instead of a list. It is seriously that overworked, overused, and utterly, painfully lame. And things aren't cool anymore, they are "frigid!" Yet somehow, when her impossibly rich, handsome, endlessly horny and devoted husband Roarke was annoying her, Eve told him to stop "hassling" her. Seriously??? Of all the words produced in the 20th century, the slang that survives in this world is "hassling" - a bit of 70s slang that has almost entirely been dropped from our early 21st century lexicon is going to make a comeback? And, I'm very sorry to report, your great grandchildren will not have snowball fights anymore. They will have a "snow war." The random words she chose to change to sound more "future-y" just bug the hell out of me.
And then there's the sex scenes. Apparently these are a hallmark of her writing, and she's enormously successful so my opinion is clearly not relevant, but I'll offer it anyway. I am bored to the point where when it's Very Obvious that Eve and Roarke are going to bicker about something then fuck like rabbits, I mentally groan. I hit that point in one story when two of her detectives were undercover in a very, very dangerous situation, and she took a bit of time for a bubble bath and nooner with her devastatingly handsome and devoted billionaire hubby. (She's this incredibly devoted, dedicated, single-minded cop, and she abandons her team in the middle of an active undercover operation when her husband says she needs "a break".) There are of course many, many flowery "-ing" words - "arching, aching, pulsing..." - to describe it, and every other encounter, which is always just the height, the pinnacle, the absolute be-all and end-all of passion, until the next one, fifty pages later, max. I know this is a trademark of the author's genre, but it has become predictable and tedious, and with an audiobook, you can't just let your eyes skim over the pulsing and throbbing and get back to the plot. Perhaps that's why the lack of originality and over-use of -ing words struck me.
I LOVE escapist fiction and I have no issues at all with well-written sex scenes, but these jarring literary tics (and fearing the appearance of the "grocery data") bother me to the point that I have to take a break from the series, which is a shame, because I need fluffy mind candy to get me to Asheville and back later this month.